SpaceX launches Falcon 9 for the 50th time

By Brooks Hays  |  Updated March 6, 2018 at 9:10 AM
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March 5 (UPI) -- Just seven years and nine months after its first launch, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off for the 50th time early Tuesday.

The rocket launched into orbit on schedule at 12:33 a.m. ET. Falcon 9 carried a Hispasat 30W-6 spacecraft into space. The satellite will provide high-definition TV broadcasts in Spanish and Portuguese to viewers in the Americas, Europe and North Africa.

"This satellite is very significant for us," Antonio Abad, chief technology officer at Hispasat, told Florida Today. "It is the culmination of the current growth phase of the company."

For Madrid-based Hispasat and its Brazilian subsidiary Hispamar, Latin America is the largest market.

The Hispasat 30W-6 satellite was designed and constructed by California-based Space Systems/Loral.

The rocket first blasted off on June 4, 2010. Since its inaugural flight, the Falcon 9 has added thruster power, making it one of the most capable launch systems in the aerospace industry.

Last month, SpaceX successfully delivered a different Spanish satellite into orbit. PAZ is a synthetic-aperture radar satellite designed to capture high-resolution images of Earth's surface. PAZ is owned and operated by Hisdesat, another Spain-based satellite company.

The PAZ launch also delivered two of SpaceX's own satellites into orbit. The Microsat-2a and -2b satellites are the first Starlink broadband satellites to be launched by SpaceX.

The aerospace company hopes to launch a fleet of more than 1,000 satellites as part its planned space-based Internet system.

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